In light of what Cliven Bundy has said about “Negros” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/us/politics/rancher-proudly-breaks-the-law-becoming-a-hero-in-the-west.html?_r=0, I feel the need to separate myself from him as best I can. I made a post last week about the rationality of his resistance against federal intervention. I stated how it should to be left to the State of Nevada to determine how this situation should be handled. There are the issues such as the preservation of the dessert tortoise, crop rotation, over grazing, etc. These matters need to be handled by the state of Nevada not 200 armed federal agents. I also mentioned how non-violent resistance may best be conducted when you are not susceptible to abuse by being armed yourself.
However, while I believe this to be true, Cliven Bundy has shown himself to be a man with deplorable views concerning blacks (I refuse to use hyphenated-American phrases), and I will not condone the actions of some of his supporters who call for violence. These opinions are despicable, and all enlightened people should separate themselves from them immediately.
In reference to Cliven Bundy’s resistance in Nevada, Senator Harry Reid whined, “Well, it’s not over. We can’t have American people that violate the law, and then just walk away from it. So, it’s not over.” Cliven Bundy and his ancestors had been grazing their cattle on what is Nevada state land for generations, but he has been told he must pay fees, his herd was confiscated, and many were concerned at the potential outbreak of violence.
For many, it may be difficult to understand their position. So, I shall attempt to elaborate. The U. S. has three branches of government that possess executive, legislative, and judiciary authority. Naturally, this power has an origin. When we the people formed our Constitution, our representatives acted as lawyers on our behalf. They signed a social contract, the Constitution, stating we the people would hand over our powers to determine our own laws, judge one another, and to execute our will to the government under agreed upon limitations. When the federal government surpasses these predetermined limitations, they trespass into our authority. We have given them authority to write law, judge law, and execute law within specified parameters. I do not recall any time we the people agreed the government could own anything.
Our present government has been operating as if the money it spends, the people it governs, and the land it controls belongs to it. However, government only has the power and authority we permit. I frequently hear the concept of “government interest” brought up in my Constitutional Development class. There is no such thing as government interest; it’s not allowed! Government is not an independent entity. It is a tool of the people. When the government decides it is going to assert its own prerogative, it must be thwarted. The government cannot be permitted to take action outside the will of the people. We do not wish for government to control the land. As a dependent entity, how can it rightly possess land? The state of Nevada has pronounced the grazing area Bundy utilizes as public land, a public utility. As the Bill of Rights codifies, all authorities not specifically delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. It is legal for Nevada to define it as public land, but it is completely outside federal authority.
It is feared if this trespass of the people’s authority goes unchallenged it will only lead to further usurpations. This is absolutely true historically. Any power gained by the government is lost by the people, and it is rarely recovered. Fascist crackpots like Harry Reid are bound and determined to stamp this out before it sets a trend of defiance. To assert defiance and to further assert your will over that of government’s makes the fascist crackpots shake in their boots. They truly are fearful that their Progressive religion will be challenged, that enlightenment ideas will spread, and that they will not recover their power.
I do fear, however, that violence could become the tool of reversing government usurpations and reasserting natural law. I find it difficult to fathom the repercussions of a break-out of violence on U. S. soil. American versus American. I cannot express how greatly this outcome ought to be avoided. Glenn Beck often speaks of Jesus, Gandhi, and M. L. K. when giving examples of peaceful resistors and societal reformists. I would like to point out they were all murdered. A slight modification of tactics might be necessary. Carry arms so that you may not be abused, but reserve not to use them.
Humanity has a long history of minority abuse or abuse of those whom we can overpower. It has happened time and again. We always find excuses to hate one another. Excuses like religion, culture, skin color, etc, are used as tools to declare someone else less than human or inferior. Instead of forming solidarity in humanity as a whole, we find it with those who look like us, talk like us, believe like us, and those who are different are shrouded in some kind of “otherness”. This is an “otherness” that those with agendas can abuse. After all, if a 19th century man who had not been indoctrinated to despise blacks had been asked, “What is inherently wrong with black skin,” he would lack an answer. All the hatred that had been amassed by those who were indoctrinated to the idea that blacks were inferior could not stand to reason. Those who preferred free labor and were arrogant enough to claim superiority could not claim that white skin is better and black worse; they had to prescribed negative attributes to blacks that had nothing to do with skin color. To further this point, what could be considered inherently wrong with the French, Germans, Indians, Native Americans, Africans, Arabs, Persians, Russians, Brits, and all the rest? The answer is absolutely nothing. None of these people hold a characteristic that makes them by nature evil or inferior.
Generalizations, dividing ourselves into groups of races, creeds, ect, is horribly detrimental to society. The concept of race is idiotic. The last “races” that could be considered human but not homosapien that possessed intelligence, tool making, perhaps religion, etc died tens of thousands of years ago. There is only one human “race”; only one human species. Our DNA is so similar that if we were dogs, we would all be the same breed. We have these minor differences and we structure our lives about them. All people of one color live in one part of the city, and all the people of another color likewise. We put our identity in our “race”. We maintain the idea of “otherness” about those who are different, and we hinder proper development. The world is full of diverse individuals, and it is a real waste to spend all your time only associating with those similar to you. Ever tried Shawarma? It’s from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and it’s fantastic. There is Western Classical architecture, Eastern Islamic architecture, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Secularism, Indian spices, French and Californian wine, Cuban cigars, hookahs, Southern United States’ cooking, Western philosophy, Eastern meditation, British parliamentary politics, American Republicanism, Peruvian, Bolivian, and Ethiopian coffee, Kung Fu, Pankration, and a great many more differences, cultures, and arts. There is all this diversity in the world, and so many of us blow it off by assuming negative characteristics of our fellow humans.
It is the height of ignorance to hold racism against someone. There are things in our world that are inherently wrong, bad, or evil. Totalitarianism, Fascism, Nazism, racism, slavery, rape, murder, religious radicalism, ect are all terrible things, but it is ridiculous to blame someone’s culture, color, religion, or otherwise. It has more to do with the fact that we are all imperfect creatures, and we are known to use those things as tools to support and agenda.
Not to long ago someone said, “…this was put in place to help African-Americans achieve their goals,” when we were discussing law. I responded out loud, “How are ‘African-American’ interests any different from anyone else’s interests, and when did they have a meeting to decide what their collective interests were?” I think the fastest way for me to address this issue is to say that there is no such thing as “minority rights”. There are human rights that apply to all of us. To claim minority rights is to claim privileges that only you as a member of a minority can possess. It’s ridiculous. All human beings have a right to do any thing physically and fiscally harmless (whether the government recognizes it or not). No one has any special rights or detriments simply because they are a member of a minority. For humanity to progress we have to learn to live with one another. We have to cease to divide ourselves by trivial differences. We have to learn to communicate with one another, to civilly debate our ideas, and to experience one another’s culture. When we learn not to hate one another for our differences and to co-operate, humanity could make incredible progress.
Once again, there has been a Fort Hood shooting. Let’s take a step away from the sheer idiocy in not permitting soldiers to carry their weapons in the base and focus on gun control in general. I think what needs to be asked first is who do you trust? Do you trust your government, or do you trust your neighbor? Or perhaps, of the two whom do you trust more? We live in a Constitutional Republic where we the people, through contract or constitution, consent to be governed. The argument over guns isn’t about guns at all. It’s about control. Who should have it?
We all ought to understand that we have innumerable rights. That includes rights not codified in the Bill of Rights. I’m sure we can agree that people have a right to life, a right to make a sandwich, a right to watch television, a right to say curse words, a right to choose your profession, etc. As a matter of fact, you have a right to do any physically and fiscally harmless thing. Obviously, not all of these things can be codified in the Constitution. It ought to be evident that my prior statement stands to reason. So, why did the framers decide to include a Bill of Rights at all? If certain very important rights were not codified and protected, then the ambitions man would cause them to trample upon their fellow man.
Weapons are power. Who should have it? We always talk about the 3 branches of government, but it seems that there are 4. The executive, legislative, judiciary branches, and the people. The executive branch is the force, the legislative branch is the author of law, and the judiciary is the judge of the law. But what of the people? We are the source of the government’s power. We hold the ability to judge one another, to enforce our decisions, and to ponder and construct law. However, we delegate this authority to the government, but only that authority. Why would we want the government to trespass into our authority? I have the right to determine who I want to marry, where I want to work, what I want to eat, where I want to live, what I want to watch, how I want to raise my children, what products I want to purchase, etc. All these things and more are within my authority not the government’s. Weapons are absolutely essential to liberty. Just as it is within my rights to determine these other matters, it is within my rights to determine whether or not I will possess arms, and the weapons ensure I’m not forced to wear the “supreme leader’s” hair-cut as in North Korea. If the people do not have a force of their own, then whoever holds the executive power controls the country.
I believe the philosophical and government aspects of this question have been well addressed, so perhaps I should address the social issues such as crime, the “militia”, limitations on certain types of weapons, etc, but I will save that for a later time. Please comment bellow.
Recently, I found a story of incredible interest. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10717566/Aborted-babies-incinerated-to-heat-UK-hospitals.html In the UK, according to this story, over the past two years as few as 15,000 aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated in waste-to-energy systems to help the hospitals be more green. For those who are pro-life, this story is truly disturbing, and for those who are pro-choice it ought not mean a thing. If it does, I believe it is important that you ask why.
I am always hearing different terms being used to determine when it is morally acceptable to abort a child. I hear fetus, baby, tissue, future tax payer, and I hear qualifiers such as viability, when life begins, when it can live outside the womb, and when the state has a vested interest in the child. Why are there so many terms? Why is this issue so complicated? Is it a matter of women’s rights or the rights of the child? What about the father? I think the best way to answer all of these questions is to start at the beginning of the line of reasoning; to observe the origins of the idea.
It may seem that I am diverting here, but bear with me. Not many people seem to be aware that at the onset of the 20th century there was a Socialist Party in the United States. The party managed to take a number of lower level political positions, and they even ran a candidate for president if I recall. However, the party was fairly short-lived as “socialism” became a dirty word to many Americans when it’s effects were observed in Europe. Instead of changing their platform and ideas, they simply changed their name to Progressives. Basically, they were an off-shoot of the Republican Party, but their only similarity was patriotism. This kind of mindset is called National Socialism, or as it is perhaps more commonly known, Nazism. Examples of progressives would be Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood and author of “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2990368/pdf/eugenrev00388-0032.pdf ). The eugenics movement began in the United States and was particularly strong in California. Californian eugenists had a very strong influence on German scientists promoting forced sterilization and elimination of “undesirables”. The idea was eventually dropped in the United States, but Hitler took it and ran with it.
Margaret Sanger’s goal in founding Planned Parenthood was to deliberately build the facilities in areas occupied primarily by minorities to eliminate the “undesirables”. It is estimated that 40-50 million babies are aborted every year globally, and as I recall about 1.2 billion with a “B” babies have been aborted globally since the 1970’s. I mention the origin of these ideas for two reasons. One, to illustrate the mindset in which these ideas were formed, and two, to explain why the terminology used is so extensive and ill-defined. It is a progressive tactic to simply change the terminology. They don’t change the idea but how they say it.
So, what terminology should we use to assess this matter? Well, a fetus is obviously “alive” at conception. Cells are alive. There is no dispute there; so I suppose that wont work. “Viable” also doesn’t seem appropriate. There is a time after which the fetus is considered “viable”, or rather, capable of living outside the mother’s womb. With today’s technology, I find it unlikely that an artificial womb is out of grasp, but it would certainly be possible in the future. So, that seems an insufficient term. The concept of state interest in the child is idiotic. It’s none of the state’s business; so I wont waste my time addressing that.
We have all these arguments over “when life begins” and “when the fetus becomes viable”. The real question that needs to be asked is, is the fetus human? What is the answer to that question? Because if the fetus is indeed human, it is entitled to all the same rights that the rest of us are. That includes the right to life, a right we “hold to be self-evident” (a right to life amendment might be a good idea.) If the fetus is not human, then there is no problem with burning them for fuel, and clearly, no non-human entity can be entitled to human rights. So, who wants to argue that the fetus is not human? I have heard the argument rebutted, however, that its humanity is irrelevant. The fetus is not sentient. It cannot comprehend its rights. (Imagine my words are thick with sarcasm) Ah, well now it all makes sense. That means that Miranda rights are unnecessary, rights for the mentally impaired are obviously out too, and I guess if you can’t quote the Bill of Rights you don’t have those rights either. Certainly, if you cannot comprehend all your rights and their origins, you do not have them. I wonder how many millions or billions of people no longer have rights under that line of reasoning? Quite obviously, an inability to comprehend all your rights does not mean you do not possess them.
I think it is important for us to remember the words of Voltaire,”Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Humans have done horrible things when we have convinced ourselves that others were sub-human. Hitler considered Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, ect to be sub-human… Lesser humans who needed to be eliminated. Slavery in the US was perpetuated because we convinced ourselves that Africans were sub-human. Pol Pot was convinced that the wealthy and educated were inherently evil human beings and he held racism against the Laotians and Vietnamese; so he attempted to exterminate them. There was also racism against Native Americans which led to their near extermination. Andrew Jackson was largely responsible for that. There are many instances of this behavior throughout history. We cannot fall into the trap of deeming someone sub-human.
Perhaps this is a bit superfluous, but perhaps it is noteworthy. Take into account that this opinion comes from a Deist. In ancient times, people used to sacrifice their children to Baal, the god of the Earth, fertility, weather, heaven, and agriculture. The Carthaginians were one culture that did this, and the Romans condemned them for it. And it’s not like Rome was the great bastion of morality in the ancient world. If the ancient Romans condemn it, it must be pretty bad. Back then they sacrificed to Baal, and today, we sacrifice to convenience… to self. If you really want to notice similarities, burning fetuses and miscarried babies to help the environment is eerily familiar to worshiping Baal. I’m not insinuating that people are actually worshiping Baal, but some are certainly worshiping the environment. They are willing to sacrifice babies to the environment. Others seem to worship themselves. Some sacrifice to themselves. Their convenience, their lifestyle is too important to be troubled by a baby, and so they are willing to sacrifice children to themselves. These have to be among the most deplorable actions humans can commit.
Of course, there is also the issue of rape and incest. I will never experience such a despicable act. I will never be able to understand the torment… That being said, there is no reason the child should be denied life. There are plenty of couples out there who would love to adopt a child. I cannot imagine having to carry to term a child you didn’t ask for and that you didn’t want to risk having. Not to mention the knowledge that it is the offspring of the monster who forced himself on you. However, I don’t see how that atrocity justifies the death of a child. The child did not choose the circumstances of its conception. If the fetus is human, it deserves life same as the rest of us. Lastly, I have heard the argument that giving rights to the child would take rights from the mother. When did it ever become a right to murder?
This is my first blog post; so I imagine I ought to introduce myself. My name is Presley. I am a student at the University of Texas, I was previously self-educated for several years, and prior to that I attended both a public and private school. I’m a country boy, and I fancy myself a “gentleman scholar”. I chose the blog title “The Lyceum” as that was the name of Aristotle’s school where he would walk about the grounds, gardens, and olive trees providing lectures and debating his colleagues. As I spend a very large amount of time walking the trails and woods near my home, and I’ve had a life long love affair with olives, I thought it was suitable. I hold a profound interest in the dialogues and writings of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Cicero, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Adam Smith, Rousseau, Voltaire, etc. I am bound and determined to eventually read all of their works. However, down to the point of this post.
Today, I noticed a story in the news about a church that posted this sign.
The topic of gay marriage has been gathering my attention lately. I recently had the privilege of attending a political action conference where I met many people with a variety of opinions. I had the opportunity to debate a gentleman on this very topic. This issue needs to be addressed from two angles, political and religious. I believe I will start with the political aspect of this issue. When I had the pleasure of discussing this topic, the debate went a little something like this (the dialogue has been shortened as the gentleman would ramble before answering).
Gent: Sir, would you like a flier?
Me: Sure, may as well. I see you are discussing gay marriage. What is your stance?
Gent: Well, I am against it, sir! Our nation was founded on Christian principles, and we have to uphold them. We see that this is the decline of our society.
Me: Interesting. I was just discussing this issue with my friend. Tell me, do you consider yourself a conservative?
Gent: Yes, of course.
Me: So, as a conservative, you hold the belief that the government possesses in no way the authority to command the way you live your life?
Gent: *long pause* Yes, I suppose.
Me: Well then, I should ask, what is the origin of government, or rather what are the origins of governmental power?
Gent: I assume you mean the “social contract”?
Me: Yes, sir. Exactly. We the people have formed a contract or constitution, and we elected representatives to sign this contract that defines how we agree to be governed. Ergo the origin of governmental power is the people.
Me: So, by extension of what was previously admitted, if the government does not hold the authority to command your life, and government authority comes from the people, no individual or group possess that authority either.
Gent: *long pause and some pointless chin wagging* Yes, I suppose that is true.
Me: So, under what authority can you, the government, or anyone else tell homosexuals they cannot wed? That power is not vested in the government, and governmental power comes from you and me. So I should also ask, where does your authority to control them come from?
Gent: You’re a libertarian aren’t you?
Me: Yes, sir.
Gent: Well, this has been an interesting conversation, and I will certainly do more research on your opinion. That really interests me. Well, I really must be going. *hurries away to speak to other passersby*
My Friend: Dude, that was awesome. You should start a blog.
I think having these discussions is incredibly important. If people who disagree cannot sit and have a meaningful dialogue, nothing can be learned or accomplished. Right now our political parties fight incessantly over matters such as gun rights, gay marriage, drugs, religious liberty, and separation of church and state. Debates that need to be had. The issue here is you have two groups of people trying to limit each others rights. One would outlaw gay marriage, drug use, and the ten commandments would be in every courthouse. The other would ban weapons, offensive speech, and religious practices or speech in public places. While both of them claim to strive for freedom. I’m being perhaps a little dramatic here, but I’m trying to illustrate a point.
How often do you hear a political figure say you should be allowed to shoot your gun at the range with your spouse of whatever gender, go home and smoke a joint, and proselytize the word of the all-mighty flying spaghetti monster. We as people have a right to take any action that is physically and fiscally harmless to other people.
The only reason, it would seem, that gay marriage is even an issue is that government is involved in the private institution of marriage. Instead of treating all people equally, married couples have special tax privileges, guardianship of their children, and spousal rights. Why are these matters determined by a typically religious act like marriage? Any person who is truly free should be allowed to marry whomever he or she wants. If you get it on with a toaster, it’s no business of mine. Then the various legal matters can be cared for in court, and yes there would be competency issues for the toaster. Marriage, civil union, partnership, etc are all civil matters outside of government authority.
Secondly, there is the religious motivator. Many Christians today maintain, per the Bible, that homosexuality is considered a sin. This pastor in the story completely misquotes Jesus. When asked whether the woman ought to be stoned he replied, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” –John 8:7 NIV. We always hear that our nation was founded on Christian principles. True, but it was also founded on pagan and deist principles. Whether you consider Jesus divine or not is irrelevant. He is at least on the same level as the great classical philosophers. “Love one another as your father in heaven loves you…”,”Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”,”If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” Good stuff. However, these are philosophies anyone can agree with. They are not religious doctrines, but doctrines of reason. Our founders esteemed reason, logic, republic, science, and inquiry. These are classical Greek and Roman, or rather, pagan principles. The idea that people who disagree ought to be able to live among one another practicing their various personal walks with God, or lack thereof, without animosity toward one another is a deistic principle.
So many Christians want to adhere to certain parts of the old law or Old Testament, but at the same time believe that Jesus died for them so they would no longer live under the old law. Remember the whole shredded curtain in the temple thing? That’s what that was about. Clearly, the peaceful teachings of Christ contradict the old testament, but that is to be expected. You had one written by ancient men who had various political motivations and a desire to explain their world. Can you really reconcile that a loving God kills entire populations of cities for sin, and then tells Christians not to persecute sinners. If I were an ancient man seeing an asteroid shoot towards the Earth and explode over Sodom and Gomorrah (archaeological evidence suggests this) with shrapnel friction heating the atmosphere to an excess of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, I would think it was an act of God as well. It is the same false reasoning you hear so many use when the coast of the United States gets hit by a hurricane, “Why would God let this happen?” My point is, you can expect there would be difference in the teachings of ancient men and a brilliant philosopher.
In short no one has the authority to restrict someone’s rights. Not everyone can agree, and diversity of opinions is a good thing. However, the only way humans who disagree with one another can get along in society is to agree to debate, but to never force our opinions on one another.